September 24, 2015

The Learning Curve

In our industry, we are experiencing a significant transition in multiple organizations, as many Executive Directors are retiring and are tasked with finding their replacement.  If this is not handled well, it can create a significant leadership void in any organization.  At Open Options UCP, I was very fortunate to have worked for the organization in the Director of Community Living role for three and a half years under Bruce Scott, our former President/CEO.  In that time, I was able to increase my knowledge base of the Community Living program, our largest program, while also learning some new skills specific to the President/CEO position.  Stepping into the role in March 2014, I knew it would be a learning curve.  What I have found is this position is unlike any other I have ever held. In their recent book “The Executive Director’s Guide to Thriving as a Nonprofit Leader” Mim Carlson […]
September 10, 2015

The Right Way

Very early on in my professional career while serving as a live-in employee at a group home, I remember waking up around 6:00am and the overnight employee telling me, “I already passed all the morning medications so you don’t have to worry about it!”  It was her first day, and she seemed very eager.  As I started helping people get dressed and ready for their day, I noticed she was not calling people by their actual names.  She called Rudy “Buddy” and Marvin “Steve.”  I corrected her each time, but quickly realized that all ten residents had received someone else’s medications.  With some individuals receiving eight to ten different medications, there could be some significant medical issues.  After figuring out who had gotten which medications and spending about an hour on the phone with an emergency room doctor, we were able to determine that everyone was okay but needed follow-up […]
August 24, 2015

The Right People

We have been working very hard to be more intentional in creating a work culture that fosters employee engagement and high quality service.  This includes having the right people on board.  The most difficult question then becomes, “How do you know they are the right people?”  Based on my experiences, I have found four core elements that must be present for an employee to be successful in our organization. 1. Philosophy: consists of the beliefs and values related to the work we do.  While employees come to us with our own set of beliefs and values and are entitled to such, we have a responsibility to ensure they align with the values of Open Options UCP as it relates to the work we perform.  Our core values, for example, are necessary elements for an employee to be successful; he or she must be committed to the well-being and happiness of […]
August 11, 2015

Change Is Good

We have undergone a number of significant changes in the past year. I’d like to highlight some of the key improvements that we believe will help us move forward as we aspire to become a premier provider of supports and services for people with disabilities. Some of the changes include: ▪ Rebranding – In January 2015, we rebranded as Open Options UCP from our previous name United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Kansas City. ▪ Quality Enhancement – We created a Quality Enhancement department that focuses on ensuring we are providing person-centered, high quality services and are enabling people to achieve outcomes that are most important to them.  This department consists of a Director of Quality Enhancement and two Quality Enhancement Coordinators. ▪ Health Services – Understanding how important the physical health and well-being of the people we support is, we created a Health Services department that oversees medical management.  This department consists of two Health Services Coordinators. ▪ Information Technology – We […]